Receiving the Riches of Glory – 2 Corinthians 8:9

Dr. James Montgomery Boice, the late pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, captures the essence of Advent: “Jesus descended from the peak of glory to this lowly position in order that He might raise us from our lowly position to His glory.” The significance of the incarnation is not only that we know the grace of Christ now, but that we will share His glory in the hereafter. Jesus was made lower than the angels and tasted death for everyone in order to bring “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:9-10).

Of what do the riches of Jesus’ glory consist? Hear how the Apostle Paul describes the riches of His glory from 2 Corinthians 5:

First of all, it involves receiving an eternal house. 2 Corinthians 5:1 says, “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

The picture of a tent suggests a lack of permanence and insecurity and is a common symbol of earthly life and its setting in the body. Our earthly house is compared to a tent, which serves as a temporary dwelling. Our eternal house is compared to a permanent building constructed by God Himself. Many people wager their lives on death being
the end, but a Christian knows he will live forever with a glorified body in perfect communion with his Lord.

Secondly, it involves receiving an eternal home. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:8: “We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”

As believers, we enjoy a most wonderful relationship with our Lord that will never end. We will be perfectly known and perfectly loved forever and ever. The phrase “with the Lord” suggests a dynamic, intimate communion with Jesus Christ. The riches of His glory consist in having an eternal home to go to at the end of our days. What a comfort this is! Jesus assures His followers in the Upper Room: “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

Finally, it involves receiving an eternal weight. 2 Corinthians 4:17 is a reminder of what suffering and affliction produce in the life of a Christian: “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”

We ought to commit ourselves to read at least once a year C.S. Lewis’ essay, The Weight of Glory. It can lift us from the harsh and stark realities of this world and renew our vision for what is ultimately in store for us in the coming kingdom of our Lord.

“Apparently, then,” Lewis concludes, “our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honor beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.”

Ultimately, what we all are truly longing for is GLORY – inexpressible glory. We want
to be welcomed, received, acknowledged by, and taken in by God into His dwelling
place. This is exactly our future because the only-begotten Son of God became a man to take upon Himself our rags of sin, condemnation, rejection, guilt, shame, brokenness, isolation, and insecurity. He has granted us His favor, smile, and righteousness. The words of the prophet Isaiah summarize how we should respond this Advent:

“I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10).

Five Keys to Authentic Community (Romans 16:1-16)

We all desperately need community. This hit me again with great force recently as I was watching the movie “The Count of Monte Cristo” starting James Caviezel as Edmond Dantes. Abbe Faria, aka the Priest, becomes a lifeline to the weary Dantes during his stay at the prison, Chateau d’if. Abbe is a great scholar who gradually transforms the unschooled Dantes into a wise, learned and cultivated man. The beginning of the movie sets forth the power of community to endure adversity and hardship.

Romans 16:1-16 also sets forth the power of community and gospel partnerships. It highlights at least five secrets to discovering genuine New Testament koinonia. This more or less summarizes my desire for our church over the past 8 ½ years.

What are these five keys? Concern (love for one another), a Christ-centered life, the importance of the cell group, a common cause, and candor. To put it more simply our church must serve as a home and a mission. (NOTE: The above sentence and basic outline of this post comes from a talk on genuine fellowship from Sam Shoemaker. The last phrase of the church serving as a home and a mission comes from Randy Pope and Perimeter Church.)

A local church can be a place of health and beauty when it follows God’s pattern.

  • Concern (deep affection and love for one another). People matter. People were important to the Apostle Paul. How so? Note that Paul says something specific about virtually every person greeted. He enjoyed real relationships of love.

One Scripture commentator declares that Romans 16 is one of the most instructive chapters of the New Testament. Why does he say such a bold statement: “Because it encourages personal relationships of love in the church” (Emil Brunner)

Notice first of all the affection and love that Paul has for his friends. “Greet my beloved Epaenetus (v.5)… greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord (v.8)… greet my beloved Stachys (v.9)… Rufus’ mother who has been a mother to the Apostle Paul (v.13). The word ‘beloved’ means dearly loved.

This list of greetings opens a door into the everyday world of the first century church – it’s a home. This chapter serves as a hall of family portraits of our brothers and sisters who’ve gone before us. It also affords us a remarkable portrait of the heart of the Apostle Paul.

The warmth of Christian friendship evident in these verses (with so many indications of warm affection) remind us that in a world of fractured families the church is so often the first family where men and women find the warmth for which they long.

(How do you and I experience this type of authentic community? Christopher Ash is the Director of the Cornhill Training Course in London, and was previously the minister of All Saints Church, Little Shelford, near Cambridge. He declares that the only way to experience this type of community is “not in being passengers but rather by being active servants alongside others.”)

  • A Christ-centered life – The gospel matters. We share life together in Christ. On what are you centered?

Everyone has a “Center”.  Everyone lives for something–something that we think will give us a sense of significance and satisfaction. We all then have a “personal center.” That which is your bottom line. Your ultimate value by which you sort through all the activities of life and set priorities?  It may be money, career, possessions, appearance, romances, approval from a certain peer groups achievement, marriage, children, friendships – or a combination of a several.  Without this “bottom line”, your life would be completely meaningless.

(In Romans 16:1-16, the phrase “in Christ… in Christ Jesus… in the Lord” is used ten times). With whom do we have the privilege of advancing the gospel? We serve together with those who are beloved in the Lord (v.8). (v. 9 – the phrase “fellow workers,” v. 10 – “approved in Christ”, v.13 – “chosen in the Lord”).

  • Cell (house church… small groups). Small groups/community groups matters. Aquila and Prisca. Notice the phrase: “The church in their house” (v.5). 1 Corinthians 16:19 “Early Christians gathered on a regular basis in the homes of leading members.

Such groups not only were intimate for the members but apparently represented nonthreatening environments in which to do evangelism.

The development of authentic community life requires significant face to face relationships. Deliberate effort. It will not happen in worship or other Sunday morning ministries.

Cocooning is the name given to the trend that sees individuals socializing less and retreating into their home more. In the 1990s, Faith Popcorn suggested that cocooning could be broken down into three different types: the socialized cocoon, in which one retreats to the privacy of one’s home; the armored cocoon, in which one establishes a barrier to protect oneself from external threats; and the wandering cocoon, in which one travels with a technological barrier that serves to insulate one from the environment. We now can live in physical isolation while maintaining contact with others through the internet.

  • A Common Cause – Advancing the gospel matters. We desire to see others come to find hope, life and salvation in Christ. Expand and grow our family… (Notice the words used in v.14-15 – brothers and saints – Process of seeing natural enemies transformed into brothers… and sinners transformed into saints).

(Epaenetus – “The first convert to Christ in Asia” (v.5)

Prisca and Aquila were tentmaking missionaries and helped Paul start the church in Ephesus and had been instrumental in the church in Rome.

This passage calls for maximum effort to further God’s cause, extend Christ’s kingdom, and make the Savior known. We should do this will the same intensity that a runner has when he has his eye on the finish line.

(What will it demand of us in building this type of authentic community?)

  • Candor (What will it take to build this type of community that truly advances the gospel?) Let’s be honest.

It will demand sacrifice and hard work (Scholars debate whether Phoebe is a servant in a general sense, or whether she served as a deacon. She served as a patroness, probably with financial assistance and hospitality. Apparently Rufus’s mother (Mark 15:21 – Rufus’ father was Simon of Cyrene) ministered significantly to Paul.

It says that Tryphaena and Tryphosa and Persis “worked hard in the Lord” (v.12). It is important to note that women had a significant place in the life of the early church and engaged in significant ministry.

It will demand risk taking (v.4). Prisca and Aquila risked their lives when Paul was in danger in Ephesus (Acts 19:23–41; 1 Cor. 15:32).

Where is God calling you to take risks?  This week we’ve seen many people risking their lives to save others.  One great gambler for God in the past was C.T. Studd. He was a man who “hazarded (gambled with) his life for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:26).  He once wrote:  “No craze so great as that of a gambler, and no gambler for Jesus was ever cured thank God!”  He was willing to jeopardize his own life to magnify and make known the name of Jesus Christ.  Are we?

It will demand a willingness to suffer (v.7 – fellow prisoners). Bravery, at some point you will have to stand firm for Christ against some type of opposition, belittling and ridicule.

Conclusion: God calls us regularly to reflect on what it cost Him to make us members of His family. This galvanizes us to make any sacrifice to serve Him. In fact, C.T. Studd intones: “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then there is no sacrifice too great for me to make for Him.”

Sad Hearts Sing – The Walk to Emmaus

Prayer:  O God, open the eyes of our hearts to see You  for who you are today – the risen Savior who conquers all of our enemies.  Renovate our unbelieving hearts so that they burn with devotion and love for our risen Savior and Lord.

I don’t know about you, but  I still get chills every time I read this narrative on Jesus’ walk to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35.  It still amazes me that the first afternoon and early evening of Jesus’ resurrected life was spent with two obscure people.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, hope disappointed assaults our ability to trust the plan and promises of God.  I still remember the pain of our miscarriage in 1991.  The bright hopes of holding a new baby in your arms dashed and destroyed.   I still remember the despair and depression that gripped my heart when job opportunities closed one by one and I was without a ministry assignment for a year in 1996.

What does our Lord do when his follower’s hearts are gripped with despair and discouragement?

  • What does our risen Lord do?  Jesus draws near to his despairing, hopeless people.  Jesus joins his depressed and confused followers on their journey (vv.13-24).

The hopes of Cleopas and the other disciple were dashed and destroyed.  Their hearts were gripped by sadness and gloom. They were disillusioned. We get the impression that these men were discouraged and disappointed because God did not do what they wanted Him to do. That which causes these disciples despair should have been the surest ground of their hope –  the dying of the Lord Jesus. They had expected that Jesus would usher in the Messianic kingdom, and nothing of the sort happened at least for those guided by the eyes of sight and not the eyes of faith!

 

What was their basic problem? They did not know and believe all that the prophets had written about the Messiah. They saw the Messiah as a conquering King, but they did not see Him as a Suffering Servant. As they read the Old Testament, they saw the glory but not the suffering, the crown but not the cross. Like many who would come after the, they were blind to the total message of the Bible… that the cross precedes the crown.

  • Why does he do it?  For what purpose does He draw near? Our living Lord joins us in the journey for two fundamental purposes:  To make Himself known and to renovate our hearts (vv.25-35).

The living Christ reveals Himself for who He is – the Risen Savior who has conquered sin, death, hell and the devil.  How does He make himself known to us? By opening His Word and sharing His table.

He opens the scriptures, for they testify of him.  The expounding of those scriptures which speak of Christ has a direct tendency to warm the hearts of his disciples, both to convert and comfort them.  The crucial function of interpreting the Scriptures is to reveal Christ, His sufferings and glories to follow from all of the Scriptures – Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.

The word of God defined and structured Jesus’ life.  How did Jesus come to understand that he was the Christ?  God whispering in his ear”  No, but by reading the Bible.  He read the O.T. and discovered his identity.  v.27.  All of its parts point to Jesus Christ.

Imagine the greatest Teacher explaining the greatest themes from the greatest Book and bringing the greatest blessings to men’s lives:

Perhaps Jesus started at Genesis 3:15, the first promise of the Redeemer, and traced that promise through the Scriptures. He may have lingered at Genesis 22, which tells of Abraham placing his only beloved son on the altar. Surely He touched on Passover, the levitical sacrifices, the tabernacle ceremonies, the Day of Atonement, the serpent in the wilderness, the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53, and the prophetic messages of Psalms 22 and 69. The key to understanding the Bible is to see Jesus Christ on every page. He did not teach them only doctrine or prophecy; He taught “the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).

Cleopas would have thought about isaiah 53:3-4…Is that the kind of Redeemer we want?

Two things about Jesus in v.26 – It was necessary for the Messiah to SUFFER (TO DIE).  It was necessary for the Messiah to RISE.

What do you have to know to be a Christian?  You have to know that Jesus died and that Jesus rose again and that it is for you.

Why was it necessary for Jesus to suffer?
Because of who you and I are. We are rebels.  Our envy, pride, our using our status and material wealth in improper ways…  our antagonism towards God.   We are not neutral.

Because of God’s demand for justice.  Man’s rebellion against God had to be justly punished.  God’s son could only pay such a high price (Isaiah 53:5-6)  But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

Iniquities – wicked actions willingly done.  Trespasses/transgressions – moving and living outside the safe boundaries of God’s law. He had to be perfect to make an adequate and perfect sacrifice for our sins. Only if he died, could he be man’s redeemer.

Because of God’s love for us. The willful rebellion of man… the righteousness judgment of God and the infinite love of God.  It is staggering that God should love sinners.

 

We buy ugly houses.  Totally renovate them and made them beautiful.  That’s you and me.  God buys ugly people with his blood at the cross and he loves us into beauty.  He renovates us at the cost of his own body and blood.  He transformed those who are overwhelmed with iniquity and conforms us into the image of His beauty. It’s the tale as old as time – beauty and the beast.  The only way for the beast to be free of his beastliness is for beauty to love Him unconditionally.

Why was it necessary for him to rise again? Jesus physically rose again to demonstrate God’s victory over death.  Some scholars say that it doesn’t really matter that Jesus rose from the death.  It is a metaphor for new life, the cycle of spring. This type of Easter Bunny Christianity will not rescue you at death’s door. Death is the result of sin in this world and we will only be delivered from its finality and curse through faith in a crucified, risen Savior.

John Updike summarizes it well in his Seven Stanzas of Easter: “Make no mistake: if He rose at all, it was as His body; if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules, reknit, the amino acids rekindle, the Church will fall.”

Let us not mock God with metaphor and analogy making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded credulity of earlier ages. Let us walk through the door.

Jesus physically rose again so that you might experience new life now. Their hearts burned. They enjoyed real fellowship and communion with the living God. They finally experienced joy in the midst of their sorrows.

He meets them at his table and is revealed to them in the breaking of bread. Blessed art thou O God.  Maybe they saw the nail marks in his hands.  When the bread was broken.

 

  • What are the results? There are at least four results…

Obstructed eyes are opened. Jesus is alive and He is right here with us.  The reference to their eyes is reminiscent of the correlation of sight with understanding, faith, and salvation.  Luke 1:78-79; 2:30; 6:39-42; 10:23; 11:34; 18:35-42; 19:42; 4:18-19.

Slow hearts are turned into burning hearts.  There is a complete reversal of emotions.   Unbelieving, obtuse people are made to burn in devotion for Christ. How frequently I have been slow of heart of believe the promises of the Lord in His Word!  I have failed frequently in orienting myself fully around Jesus’ teaching.

Gospel Community – A fractured community is drawn back together. When the women’s testimony to the resurrection is dismissed by the disciples, fractures begin developing in their company.  They all begin to drift away from their high hopes and the community of discipleship. Cleopas and his friend return to the community of disciples to bear witness to Jesus’ resurrection.

Gospel Communication – Bold witnesses – It is the duty of those to whom Christ has revealed himself to let others know what he has done for their souls. Notes what the two men do after their encounter with the risen Christ. When you are converted, instructed, comforted, you go and strengthen your brothers.

 

 

How are Christ’s followers prepared to be his witnesses of all these things?  Possibility (vv.1-12) gives way to probability (13-35)  and probability to actuality (vv.36-49) and then to resolution (vv.50-53).

Compassion at Christmas Time – A Word from Henri Nouwen

“Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.”

“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen

The Normal Christian Life Involves Suffering

Though many in the evangelical church in America today will tell you differently, the normal Christian life involves suffering and afflictions. The apostles galvanized the first century disciples with this reality check: “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom” (Acts 14:22). When we are called to face this reality personally, let us not be alarmed or surprised.

Why is it important to remember this?

1)  Our hearts tell us otherwise. We often have a sense of entitlement and believe that we deserve a peaceful, happy life.

2) Our culture tells us otherwise.

3) Some branches of Christianity tell us otherwise (that if we have enough faith, we will be prosperous and healthy).

What does Scripture teach us about suffering?

1) Every believer goes through suffering-remember Job, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Mary, David, Jeremiah, Paul.

2) Jesus said His followers would suffer…John 16:33, 1 Peter 4:12

3) God uses suffering in purposeful ways.  John 15 reminds us of the divine pruning that must take place; it removes self-reliance and causes us to abide in Him.  Samuel Rutherford said, “Let Him plow; He purposes a crop.”  Hebrews 12:5-11; Genesis 50:20; Acts 4:27-28

Certainly, God uses suffering to discipline us and refine us to reflect His character. Yet, suffering doesn’t always mean that God is displeased with us or paying us back for the sins of yesteryear. Generally, this is simply not true. All one must do is read the story of Job and his friends. Job suffered not because there was unconfessed sin in his life, but simply to fulfill the redemptive purposes and plan of an all-loving, good, and sovereign God.

How can we respond well to suffering?

1) Look to Jesus.  Think about our suffering Savior.  Heb. 12:1-3 and Isaiah 53

2) Look to Scripture. Reflect and meditate on the promises of God….like Isaiah 41:10 and Hebrews 13:5.

3) Strive for an eternal perspective. What is this in light of eternity?…2 Corinthians 4:16-18 and 1 Peter 5:6

4) Rely on God…1 Peter 5:10

Remember that one reason that we are Christians is that suffering doesn’t have the last word. Jesus, the perfectly innocent One, suffered and died to end all suffering and death. This is great news

A Psalm for Good Friday – The One Whose Back is Plowed

Psalm 129

Psalm 129 is one of the Psalms of Ascent. It is a very fitting Psalm for Good Friday. Suffering is one notable feature of our journey of faith that we’d rather not talk about and certainly not experience. In fact, many religions say that it’s an illusion. Even for many who profess faith in Christ, it causes them to abandon their journey of faith entirely. Suffering is certainly a harsh, intrusive feature of living life in a broken and fallen world. Psalm 129 helps us to understand where to find hope when we suffer!

Here’s the text of this short Psalm:

1″Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth” – let Israel now say—

2″Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me.

3 The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows.”

4The LORD is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked.

5May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward!

6Let them be like the grass on the housetops, which withers before it grows up, 7with which the reaper does not fill his hand nor the binder of sheaves his arms, 8nor do those who pass by say, “The blessing of the LORD be upon you! We bless you in the name of the LORD!”

How do you tend to respond when you suffer? Have you ever said or thought something like the words of Teresa of Avila: “Lord, if this is the way you treat your friends, it’s no wonder you have so few!” Some of us are prone to get angry with God at his apparent indifference to our plight. We tend to charge Him with wrongdoing. We doubt His goodness and question His love and power. Some of us sulk and wallow in self-pity. Others of us take vengeance on our pain with the unrelenting pursuit of illicit pleasure. Others of us blame and shame others.

From Psalm 129, where do we find hope in the midst of our suffering? Our text highlights two things …

  • Recall God’s Pattern in redemptive history: Cross and crown… Tragedy and triumph… Sufferings and glories to follow.

Israel – Israel suffered at the hands of the Egyptians, the Babylonians, The Syrians, the Greeks, and the Romans, the Muslim crusaders, and the Nazis. Why such persistent anti-Semitism? Satan absolutely hates Israel as the people through whom God promised to send the Messiah to destroy both the devil and his works.

How? Plowed upon my back. This is a powerful metaphor combining the idea of a vicious, painful scourging with the painstaking and thorough effort a farmer would make to plow a field.

Not prevailed against me (v. 2). Did not gain the victory. Persecutors do not prevail over God’s people. The Lord cuts the cords of the wicked.

Have you ever wondered why God persist in using this pattern of suffering before the glories that follow? This pattern can easily be traced in the life of Israel, in the life of Christ, and in the lives of Christ’s followers.  So that the world might know that the power is not from ourselves but from God.

But what would life be like in our fallen world if God eliminated suffering? Malcolm Muggeridge, a noted British author and journalist answers: “Supposing you eliminated suffering, what a dreadful place the world would be. The world would be the most ghastly place because everything that corrects the tendency of this unspeakable little creature, man, to feel over-important and over-pleased with himself would disappear. He’s bad enough now, but he would be absolutely intolerable if he never suffered” (Jesus Rediscovered, 1969. pp. 199-200).

  • Recall Good Friday

Indeed, the Psalmist laments the repeated and frequent afflictions of his people, but this Psalm has its ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah on this day that we call Good Friday. For Jesus is the ultimate sufferer whose back is plowed to bring healing to us His sin-sick people. Today we recall our suffering Messiah. We recall His cross, relive the anguish, and renew our vows to live as His followers. Jesus suffered to ultimately end all suffering.

One of the things we remember on Good Friday is that the Messiah had to suffer. Our salvation was contingent upon Jesus’ suffering. The way of humiliation leads to great glory.

Prayer:

Merciful Father, we meet each other today at the foot of the cross. We wait with each other as those who inflict wounds on one another: Have mercy on us.

As those who spurn Your love for other loves:  Be merciful to us.

As those who put our trust in power and prestige: Be merciful to us.

As those who pursue only our own personal interests: Be merciful to us.

As those who put others on trial: Be merciful to us.

As those who refuse to forgive: Be merciful to us.

As those who are afraid of the world’s frown and displeasure: Be merciful to us. Amen.

 

Acts 14 – The Habits of the Heart of Gospel People

Devotional Guide – Habits of the Heart of Gospel People

The church is called to teach people how to talk, how to act, how to fight, how to love, how to see the world in a peculiar way – a Christlike way.

“The role of the church is to cultivate a people who can risk being peaceful in a violent world, risk being kind in a competitive society, risk being faithful in an age of cynicism, risk being gentle among those who admire the tough, risk love when it may not be returned because we have the confidence that in Christ we have been reborn into a new reality.” (Stanley Hauerwas, Against the Nations: War and Survival in a Liberal Society, p. 118).

What are the distinctive habits of the heart of gospel people?
A.    A radical God-centeredness with a keen sense of His divine orchestration of events (14:27).
What are some of the ways that these first missionaries experienced define guidance and protection?
“All that God had done through them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (14:27). Paul actively trusted the Holy Spirit to care for God’s people.
Hindrance: a pervasive self-sufficiency and self-righteousness.
B.    The centrality of the church in God’s plan (vv. 23, 27). What were some of the things that Paul and Barnabas did to make sure that the churches they left behind had a solid foundation on which to grow? (13:43; 49; 14:21-23)
Hindrance: a prevalent individualistic approach to the Christian life. Privatized faith syndrome.
C.    A commitment to a centrist’s approach to communicating biblical truth (Acts 14:22 –  remain true to the faith)
The gospel is “the word of His grace” (v.3). Jude 3 – “Contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.”
Signs and wonders (v.3). “God hardly ever allows them  to be detached from his Word. Their true use is the establishing of the Gospel in its full and genuine authority.” (John Calvin).
The relentless and fearless proclamation of the gospel (v.7). They continuing to proclaim the good news (v.7).
Missionaries must distinguish between the traditum (what we have  in fact received) and the tradendum (The essentials which must be passed on).
Here it is called “the faith.” The tradition, the deposit, the teaching, the truth. It includes the doctrines of the living God, the Creator of all things, of Jesus Christ His Son, who died for our sins and was raised according to the Scriptures, now reigns and will return, of the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer and animates the church, of the salvation of God, of the new community of Jesus and the high standards of holiness and love he expects from his people, of the sufferings which are the path to glory, and of the strong hope laid up for us in heaven. (Stott, pp. 235-236).
Hindrance? Doctrinal compromise – Heresy

D.    A willingness to suffer for the gospel’s progress (vv.19-22). What might hinder us in this? Moral compromise. Tribulations that cause us to shrink back from taking risks (v.22). Insults, humiliation, slander, violence.  Paul’s steadfastness of character was neither upset by flattery nor by opposition” (Stott, p. 233).
Hindrance? Our nightmare emotions (fear, anxiety, etc) and the gravitational pull of our idolatrous hearts (vv.8-18).

E.    A willingness to share leadership and the responsibility of spiritual nurture with others (appointed elders for them in each local congregation).
Hindrance: Leadership vacuum. Lack of spiritual friendship, oversight, and care (v.22).